Cleveland Ohio Compact laser alleviates tube fabricator’s cutting, drilling woes

You might not have heard of kitchen equipment manufacturer Franke, although it has a big presence in the U.S. The bulk of its products are designed and built for commercial applications—kitchen equipment at the back of the house, serving lines at the front of the house—and its residential kitchen lines aren’t sold in traditional retail stores. If you were to pop into a commercial kitchen, or if you were to take a close look at a serving line at a buffet-style restaurant, you might spot Franke’s brand of sinks, food preparation tables, water filtration systems, warming tables, serving lines, coffee machines, and disposals. If you were to visit the showroom of a high-end residential kitchen supplier, you might see its faucets, sinks, and accessories, which are more than functional and aesthetically pleasing; everything is designed to work in harmony to make organization, use, and cleanup as effortless as possible.

Although it’s a large company, employing more than 10,000 people in manufacturing facilities on five continents, it’s not necessarily a high-volume manufacturer. Some of its production work comprises the low-volume, high-mix mode of a fabrication shop rather than the traditional high-volume, low-mix work of an OEM.

“A volume of 10 is a big quantity for us,” said Doug Frederick, production supervisor at the company’s location in Fayetteville, Tenn. “We might make one food prep table and then not make another one of that design for three months.”

Some of these parts are tubes. Until recently, the company got by with manual fabrication processes for its tubular components. Cutting to length on a saw and drilling to make holes on a drill press weren’t bad processes, but the company sought an upgrade.

Read more: Cleveland Ohio Compact laser alleviates tube fabricator’s cutting, drilling woes